The Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) is an aggregation of freeports and economic zones in Bataan. Its name is engraved in Philippine history as its first established economic zone and dubbed as the fastest-growing one, boasting a total of 155 registered enterprises, more than 3,000 hectares of expansion areas, and 38,769 jobs created.
However, the progress we witness today is nothing but a result of decades of breaking through boulders of challenges and overcoming unprecedented tests of resilience. In fact, several versions of legislation have been called for and have brought the FAB to where it stands today.
The management of the zone is led by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), mandated by the Republic Act No. 9728, otherwise known as the “Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) Act of 2009”. Another first in history, the AFAB was the first Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) to, back then, offer a comprehensive set of incentives, able to offer incentives to both export and domestic enterprises. Its economic activity has flourished since then, drastically transforming the land, and effectively leveraging its strategic advantages to attract investors.
Ten years later, its power and functions have been further strengthened by the passage of RA 11453 in 2019. Again, as its third streak of firsts, the AFAB is the first IPA to have been enabled for areas of expansion within its jurisdiction without the need for a presidential proclamation. Today, the FAB is looking to step into the global stage of opportunities, fearlessly exploring the realm of digital-based enterprises and emerging and future technologies such as artificial technology, blockchain, financial technology solutions, the Internet of Things, and virtual reality. Another first, the explicit ability to register emerging technologies is one of its kind in the country.
Through the years, the FAB has painted a picture of growth that’s gradual and stable, a growth felt not only by the quaint seaside town of Mariveles but a growth that overflows, streaming pass its neighboring towns. The FAB today is a significant puzzle piece of the government’s goal to attain prosperity and quality of life for every Filipino.